Medical specialists in Papua New Guinea are hoping to improve access to surgery in an effort to prevent a huge number of unnecessary deaths.
Australian anaesthetist, Michael Cooper said the World Health Organisation had found more people die in PNG from unmet surgical needs than from AIDS, TB and malaria combined.
Dr Cooper said a lot of life saving basic surgery could be done with appropriate training and equipment and it didn't have to be expensive.
He said there were many reasons people need surgery.
"Normal disease processes like appendicitis, bowel obstructions, things like that, that can occur to anybody at any time, but if you don't have access to a hospital that can perform basic operations like that, then you will die."
Dr Cooper said research over the past five years by the World Health Organisation confirmed the global burden of unmet surgical needs and a recent conference in Port Moresby was aiming to address the problem.